What this bubble tea is about (and my personal opinion about it)
Are you a boba tea fan? If you love exploring the world of flavors and textures that come with bubble tea, you may have wondered, “What is rainbow jelly boba tea?”
Well, no need to stay in the dark about this bubble tea topping any longer!
In this blog post we’ll take a closer look at what rainbow jelly tea is, how it’s made and what it adds to the overall bubble tea experience so you can make you an idea on what to expect from this colorful topping.
So get ready to taste the rainbow, because we are about to spill the tea on rainbow jelly boba!
What is boba tea?
Before we dive into rainbow jelly boba tea, let’s start with some basics: boba tea is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of sweet drinks with chunky texture.
This drink originated in Taiwan in the 1980s as a simple milk tea with tapioca pearls (small balls made from cassava root’s starch).
But now boba tea shops offer a ton of different flavors and toppings to choose from.
Under the category of boba tea you’ll find a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks, from iced tea and milk-based beverages to juice and fruit tea.
Apart from tapioca pearls, other common boba toppings to choose from are popping boba, custard pudding, coffee jelly and grass jelly.
What is rainbow jelly boba tea?
Regular boba tea is usually served with tapioca pearls, but some tea parlors also offer rainbow jelly as a topping option.
Any tea that has rainbow jelly can be called rainbow jelly boba tea, so there are no set rules as to what kind of tea it needs to go with.
Rainbow jelly (also known as rainbow agar jelly or composite rainbow jelly) consists of colorful pieces cut into small cubes or rectangles.
These bits add a chewy texture to the cup of boba or desserts like frozen yogurt, ice cream and shaved ice.
Rainbow jelly boba tea can have the jelly at the bottom, but it’s often served on top if the tea has ice cubes (without some ice to lean on, the jelly wouldn’t float!)
Despite its name, rainbow jelly:
- doesn’t contain gelatin
- doesn’t really feature all the colors of the rainbow.
Commonly, it only comes in the colors white, yellow and red (probably because originally the colors came from coconut meat and fruit juice).
What is rainbow jelly in boba made of?
Rainbow jelly is made from one of these ingredients (or a combination of them):
- nata de coco
- coconut meat
- locust bean gum
Although all of these ingredients produce a gelatinous texture, the flavor and texture varies slightly depending on the main ingredient.
Rainbow jelly also contains sugar (or similar substances like fructose), flavoring and coloring.
Commercial brands also contain preservatives and other additives.
Even though it’s called jelly, rainbow jelly in bubble tea is actually not made with animal-derived gelatin.
How does rainbow jelly taste like?
Rainbow jelly made from coconut jelly has a subtle coconut flavor and the colorful pieces usually have a mellow, fruity flavor associated with their color.
For example, yellow or orange jelly tastes like pineapple or mango, while red jelly has strawberry or cherry flavor.
So, the deal with rainbow jelly tea is that the topping brings in different fruity flavors.
This combination of flavors reminds me of a tropical fruit salad with hints of coconut.
Regarding texture, rainbow jelly can be described as chewy, but in a different way than tapioca balls, because it doesn’t have that slightly “sticky” touch, but rather more refreshing and “light”.
It also feels different on the mouth than other bombos toppings because since it’s cut in small rectangles, you can feel the edges (in a pleasant way).
Is rainbow jelly tea suitable for vegans?
Rainbow jelly isn’t made with animal-derived gelatin, so if you aren’t having it with milk tea that has dairy, it’s theoretically suitable for a vegan diet.
However, keep in mind that many companies add an extensive list of additives to their rainbow jelly and sometimes that includes lactose (which vegans probably aren’t supposed to have, at least according to Healthline).
So if you’re into watching what you eat, it’s a good idea to always check out the ingredient list.
Is there caffeine in rainbow jelly boba tea?
Rainbow jelly doesn’t have any caffeine, so if you have it with a caffeine-free drink, your jelly boba “tea” will also be caffeine-free.
Let’s just clarify that while most of the creations in boba parlors are called “tea”, some of them don’t contain real tea (real tea leaves are the ones that comes from the plant Camellia sinensis, like green tea or black tea).
This makes many beverages in boba parlors caffeine-free.
For example, black sugar milk tea and taro milk tea are usually caffeine-free.
Many fruit teas contain green tea (and therefore a small amount of caffeine), but the recipes vary depending on the store, so if you’re not sure, just ask about the ingredients in your boba parlor.
Is rainbow jelly boba tea healthy?
Boba jelly doesn’t contain fat.
And with somewhere between 100 to 150 kcal per 100 g, rainbow jelly contains roughly half the calories of tapioca balls.
Nevertheless, most boba teas have a lot of added sugar.
Also, keep in mind that most commercial brands that sell rainbow jelly contain some additives.
So, if you’re into eating healthy, it’s probably advisable to keep these kind of beverages as an occasional treat.
RELATED: Make your own healthy rainbow jelly
My personal experience with rainbow jelly
Overall, I enjoy rainbow jelly: it has a lovely fruity flavor that’s not too strong, making it a pleasant add-on.
What surprised me in a positive way the first time I tried it is that it isn’t as sweet as I thought it would be based on the bright colors.
Since I like my sweets on the less sweet side, I was worried the jelly might be too sweet for me, but it’s just right.
Talking about the texture, I find it personally more pleasant than tapioca pearls (although this is based on personal taste).
There’s still some chewing involved, but it feels very differently, less starchy.
If you like the texture of agar (kanten), you’ll probably enjoy this topping too.
I recommend trying it with tropical flavors like mango!
And that’s everything I think you should know about rainbow jelly boba tea!
If you enjoy bubble tea, here are some recipe ideas that you may like: